Lionel Messi and Inter Miami – fresh from their championship in the League Cup last weekend – are back on the pitch tonight and in contention for another title.
Inter Miami travel to face FC Cincinnati in the semifinals US Open Cup – Marking Messi’s sixth match in 22 days and his eighth overall since joining MLS.
Some much-needed rest could be on the horizon for Argentina’s World Cup champion and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who has scored 10 goals in his first seven games for Inter Miami.
But don’t expect it to come tonight.
“We said at some point he had to rest because the playing minutes were heavy,” Tata Martino, Messi’s longtime coach, said on Monday.
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“Obviously, Wednesday will not be that day. If he doesn’t tell me he wants to rest, he will continue playing.
The Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati game starting at 7 pm ET at TQL Stadium can be streamed on the CBS Sports Golazo Network (available free on the CBS Sports app and Pluto TV) and Paramount+, with Spanish-language broadcasts on Telemundo and Peacock. .
FC Cincinnati is on the board, and Inter Miami is facing a deficit after 18 minutes.
Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta capitalized on a deflected ball to fire past the left post.
Cincy nearly took a 2-0 lead, but Aaron Bupendza was ruled offside.
Former professional soccer player and coach, and now television analyst Ray Hudson will call tonight’s Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati US Open Cup semifinal game for the CBS Sports Golazo Network.
Hudson was a long-time broadcast analyst for games involving Lionel Messi, mostly with FC Barcelona. So much so that Hudson has a hilarious collection of very emotional calls for Messi’s goals.
If Messi scores tonight, the crowd could be in for a treat. Take a look…
Bengal’s star players are on hand to watch Messi
Bengals star quarterback Joe Burrow, star receivers Ja’Mar Chase and Tee Higgins and standout defensive end Sam Hubbard were on the field before kickoff.
And they were supporting their home team wearing FC Cincinnati jerseys.
Cincinnati fans roast Messy cookies at Cincinnati Bakery
A Cincinnati bakery thought it would be a great idea to bake some Messi-themed cookies before tonight’s game.
But they were not well received by FC Cincinnati fans.
“Welcome to Natty! Messy Cookies are available everywhere while supplies last,” Busken Bakery premiered in a since-deleted Facebook post.
Before deleting the Facebook post in the comments:
“Sad.” “Really Busken?” “Boo!” “Stop!”
Messi will play vs FC Cincinnati
As expected, Messi is in the starting lineup for tonight’s US Open Cup semifinal match.
Here are the starting lineups for both sides:
Messi Mania has lived up to the hype so far, but how does Messi feel about moving to Inter Miami?
Massey’s family has yet to buy a house to call home, and her three children will soon be entering school for this fall. But for now, they’re happy to be in Miami.
“Today I can tell you that I am very happy with the decision we have made,” Messi said last Thursday.
“I’m glad to be enjoying this new stage, and I’m enjoying the experience of being here in this country.”
Relive Messi Mania at the League Cup Final
Messi scored 23 runsrd minutes, and Inter Miami needed a 22-kick penalty kick shootout to beat Nashville SC 1-1 (10-9 in PKs) on Saturday night to become League Cup champions.
Messi was carried off the field by his Inter Miami teammates after the win.
Messi embraced Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham as their dream of joining forces came to fruition.
And Messi handed the captain’s armband to club captain DeAndre Yedlin ahead of his arrival, so he could lift the trophy after their victory.
More on Messi’s run with Inter Miami and the League Cup
Messi and Inter Miami’s seven-game run during the League Cup was impressive to say the least, especially for a team that came together so quickly with his additions.
Some of the highlights include:
∎ Messi scored a goal The game-winning goal came in the 94th minute of his Inter Miami debut.
∎ Messi scored twice in his first start at Inter Miami against Atlanta United, his first in the eighth minute.
∎ Messi scored 2 goals, overcoming a yellow card and jaw injury in his third game, a 3–1 win over Orlando City.
∎ Messi scored two goals to tie the game at 4 out of 85m Minutes Inter Miami edged FC Dallas 5-3 on penalty kicks.
Messi scored 86 runsm The icing on the cake in Inter Miami’s 4-0 win over Charlotte FC.
Messi’s goal gives Inter Miami a tough test in a 4-1 win over Philadelphia Union to reach the League Cup final.
∎ Messi scores early as Inter Miami beats Nashville SC 10–9 in penalty kick shootout in League Cup final.
When is the final of the US Open Cup?
The Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati winner will face either Real Salt Lake or Houston Dynamo FC in the US Open Cup final on September 27.
The winner of the US Open Cup – a team that is technically the national champion of American soccer – earns a spot in the CONCACAF Champions Cup (renamed CONCACAF Champions League).
But here’s the thing: Inter Miami has a direct bid to the round of 16 of the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup and a bye for a win in the League Cup final.
If the US Open Cup winner qualifies for another CONCACAF Champions Cup, the tournament’s runner-up will earn a CONCACAF Champions Cup spot. If the US Open Cup runner-up has more than one CONCACAF Champions Cup qualification slot, the next-best MLS club with regular-season point totals will earn the slot.
Four MLS teams have already qualified for the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup: Inter Miami; Nashville SC (League Cup runners-up); Philadelphia Union (third-place finisher in League Cup); and the Vancouver Whitecaps (Canadian Championship winners).